Monday, May 18, 2015

The Sun Shines Bright

All of this Nashville hoopla has me all nostalgic for Kentucky. Maybe it's the fact that Derby is over, and summer activities are ramping up and I feel a little left out. But either way, I needed a dose of KY today.

Now, although I've lived in Kentucky for nearly 10 years, I'm actually from Indiana. But, I'm from the very southern most part of Indiana and we literally share a border with Kentucky. My hometown is known as "Kentuckiana" if that helps to bring the closeness further into the light.

There are a lot of strong opinions about both Kentucky and Indiana depending on which side of the river you're standing and to which resident you're speaking to. Truth be told however, I've always felt stronger pulls to Kentucky than I have Indiana. Don't get me wrong .. I have phenomenal friends on both sides of the river and more memories on both sides as well. But something about my upbringing pulls me closer to the Bluegrass state than it does the Hoosiers. We can get into that later if we really need to, but bottom line - I'm a Kentucky gal with Indiana roots. I pave my own way and that's A-Ok with me.

Because of the aforementioned, along with the fact that Shane is also born and bred Kentucky, our Alma Mater is The University of Kentucky, our first child was born in Kentucky, and so and so forth … I plan to start adding several Kentucky items to adorn our new home in Nashville, TN.  I'm deeply buried in decorating the casa and on the hunt for the perfect KY elements to add.

 Here are a few of My Etsy favorites:

The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home
'Tis summer, the people are gay;
The corn top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom,
While the birds make music all the day;
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy, and bright,
By'n by hard times comes a-knocking at the door,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night!

Weep no more, my lady,
Oh weep no more today
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the old Kentucky home far away.

They hunt no more for the 'possum and the coon,
On meadow, the hill and the shore,
They sing no more by the glimmer of the moon,
On the bench by that old cabin door;
The day goes by like a shadow o'er the heart,
With sorrow where all was delight;
The time has come when the people have to part,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night!

The head must bow and the back will have to bend,
Wherever the people may go;
A few more days and the trouble all will end
In the field where sugar-canes may grow;
A few more days for to tote the weary load,
No matter, 'twill never be light,
A few more days till we totter on the road,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night!

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Australia: Sydney

Wellllll .... looky what I just found in my unpublished archives!  The Finally, final installment of the Australian Adventures: Sydney! Nothing like a three month wait to keep you on your toes. HA!  For those that missed ... or because you need a refresher after that long ... catch up on travel | Cairns Part 1 | Cairns: Photodump and Melbourne here if ya happened to miss the other posts. Without further a due ... Sydney, Australia!

Saturday, December 27
We arrived had an early morning flight out of Melbourne and landed in Sydney around 1:30pm. Since it was Saturday and we had spent most of the trip playing the parent game, we decided to cut loose and have a night on the town. Baby Bro joined us, and we made a fool proof plan for the most epic bar crawl of all time … that ended with some serious pinball tournaments and epic rock n' roll that made for a the longest shortest cab ride home ever (we'll get to that in a minute).

First stop: The local tap room in Darlinghurst. Naturally, Shane was in heaven with the over 400 beers on tap and rooftop bar. Added bonus we had the most adorable Aussie waitress that gave us the most incredible recommendations for places to head after the tap room. We had some beer flights and AMAZING wings. It was off to an incredible start.

Next we headed to The clock in Surry hills. This little place didn't appear to be much from the outside, but once we walked in it was comprised of three bars inside, all with their own look/feel and menu. We also had a possible Brittany spears sighting (I'm talking body guards and the whole bit … but this has never been confirmed). The decor was awesome with hundreds of clocks on wall - awesome bartenders - and the most delicious cucumber strawberry drink you've ever tasted. Plus hubs and maxman were happy with the full on whiskey bar and margarita pizza we enjoyed.

After The clock, we headed to The Forresters, which was basically a glorified sports pub. Our bartender was having a great night, and we joined her for a fireball start to really kick it off *note: I very RARELY take shots, so this was a big deal.

Next up: Max's must see for the night, The bearded tit. The decor was so eclectic and gave us so much to talk about. There was taxidermy all over the walls, but everything was backwards and there was a plywood carriage build out in the back that was so cheeky.

The boys sipped on this little number, because Kangaroos and Australia and stuff.

We walked a few blocks and landed upon Arcadia liquors, which had a great local vibe, but was SO CROWDED … we decided to keep on movin.

We hopped in a cab and headed to Lobo plantation in the town hall area. Holy, so cool. It was a basement bar and they lit cinnamon sticks on fire while serving epic mint juleps. They also had tons of fresh fruit (that I'm certain was for the drinks, buuut we have eaten it). Hi. These Kentuckians were happy.

Lobo's made an announcement for last call, so we headed on to Baxters Inn. We were told it was a basement bar (which it was) we waited in a super creepy off the beaten path alleyway until we could head in. It was a super swanky prohibition bar with whiskey lined walls and real candle chandeliers, SO COOL. And added bonus … they served: kung fu girl!!!!!!! I heart it.

And we rounded out the night at Frankie's. A rock and roll pizza/bar joint that was just the perfect way to end the night. We devoured some meatball pizza, laughed at Max head banging to every rock and roll song that came on and capped the night with a serious game of pin ball. Final scores:
Kt- 1367
Shane- 5381
Max - 5256

When we finally decided it was time to head home, we walked outside and hailed a cab. We hopped int the cab and asked him to take us to our hotel please. He laughed and said are you serious?! Uhm yes … we need to get home?  He made a U-turn on the street, drove about 100 feet and parked. Oh … ha. Thanks sir.

Sunday, December 28
Back in Kentucky there was a big game taking place ... UK vs UL ... and the boys were NOT going to miss it. For sheer fact of giving one another hell in regards to which team won or lost. So, post night out Max, Shane, Jon Ryan, and My Dad woke up at 5 am and headed to the casino to watch the game live. CRAZIES!

Mom, B and I stayed in bed and woke up at a reasonable hour to enjoy the most perfect breakfast in the Sydney Harbour at Campos. 

Bennett rounded out the morning by feeding the birdies and giggling non-stop, while Mom and I took in views of the Opera house.

And listened to the music of this talented man playing the didgeridoo.

After breakfast, we met up with The Hubs and toured the Opera house and the surrounding botanical gardens.

Typical Bennett just wanted to climb :)

My boys played in the grass and took in the beauty.

After the botanical gardens we strolled around the city and headed to Hyde Park.

We stumbled upon a splash park - the Philip Park Aquatic Center - and had to let little man have a turn!

He left a happy camper :)

We rounded out the day with a little more exploring, visiting the Queen Victoria building and the Pitt Street Mall. Finishing up with dinner at the Paragon Hotel.

Monday, December 29 

OOOOHHHH what a morning! Shane, Dad, Max and I woke up at the crack of dawn and made our way to the infamous Sydney Bridge to climb our way to the top!


After the magnificent early morning, we met up with the crew and had breakfast at Campos once again. After breakfast we boarded the ferry to head to Manly Beach. And get this...we saw and talked to Barbara Corcoran, AGAIN!

DA BEACH! We finished off the beach day with some delicious food and beverages from Mex&Co

After the beach we decided to lay low. We took a short nap, got cleaned up. Walked around the city a little bit. Took B to get some comfort food at Macca's and then called it a decently early night with tome TimTam's in bed and a movie! Perfection.

Tuesday, December 30

Another beach day! This time to the famous Bondi Beach!  We took a bus to Bondi and grabbed a little brunch at a cool place on the beach called The Bucket List.

Then, we began our journey on the Bondi to Coogee walk.

It was gorgeous.

I loved this little mirror in this palm tree.

Bondi > Hunter Park > Marks Park > Tamara Park

Bennett found a train at Tamara Park and of course had to ride. And get a Popsicle! (okay, I can't blame it on Bennett ... we all needed a break ... and a Popsicle!)

We finished off the evening by heading to a friends house (someone my dad knew from the states) to have a truly authentic Aussie BBQ.  Everything from lamb cutlets, chocolate ripple cake, meringue banana and passion fruit for dessert! YUM!  They have two adorable little boys, Jasper and Jonah, that brought us up on some adorable Aussie slang. Two of my favorites: Mosquitoes = Muzzies, Trampoline = Tumbly.

Wednesday, December 31 - NEW YEAR's EVE! 

Everyone was ready for some real kangaroos, so we headed out to the Featherdale Wildlife Park.


After our wildlife encounter, we had to take Shane to fulfill his dream of visiting The Lord Nelson Brewery.

Drinks all around :)

Bennett was much more interested in the treacherous terrain for his trains than he was the history of the hotel/brewery.

Next up, being the first people in the world to celebrate the new year in the Sydney Harbour!!!! We started with a delicious Authentic Italian dinner at Alfredo's ... and then headed to the Bennelong lawn in the Botanical Gardens of Sydney.

We headed in the entrance via the government house gate on Macquarie Street and made our way to the most spectacular view of the Opera House, Harbour and Bridge.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

And just like that, we're back on a plane headed back to the USA.

Jet lag was a real piece of work on all of us, especially this little guy. I can truthfully say we survived ... and all is well in the land of sleeping again!

And there you have it! The final installment of the Australia tour and the land down under. Thanks for keeping up with the incredibly long posts and picture overload, just had so much to share :)  I also need to say endless thank you's to my parents for making this amazing trip possible and giving us all the ability to check another one off the ole' bucket list!